The problem with the technology was ice cream filling machine manufacturers because it did work - it worked very well. That's why AT&T decided to put a halt to the technology.Opposing the Threat of the Answering MachineAs stated, AT&T owned Bell Labs during the era where research was taking place to develop an answering machine that would work for home owners as well as businesses. The concept came about because of the freedom to experiment among employees at Bell Labs - much the same way Google inspires their engineers to utilize 20% of their work time pursuing their own interests and projects. That environment led to the concept behind the automatic answering machine.The automatic device would pick up if no one was there to answer the phone when it rang, play a brief message and then record the information onto media - generally magnetic tape as the tape formats became more popular.Shortly after the concept came to fruition however, AT&T shut down the research on magnetic storage and the automatic answering machine. The research data was concealed by AT&T and archived until just recently where the reports were uncovered in records and lab notes from Bell archives. But why pull the plug and conceal a product with such potential? Why hide something that would inevitably come to light down the road through the research and development of others?The answer is that AT&T strongly believed recording devices attached to phone lines - especially those with magnetic tapes and the potential for high-fidelity recording - would force people to abandon the use of the telephone.The greatest concern rested in the belief that residential and business users would completely avoid the telephone because they feared that recording conversations might create fears of privacy intrusion. Some may not use the phone because they want to discuss obscene or even dubious topics and they wouldn't want those conversations recorded. They also assumed that business owners would fear a recorded conversation could cause contractual issues between parties. Overall, AT&T worried that magnetic recording would change the whole nature of telephone conversations and render the service of telephones much less attractive to their customers.Because of this halt in research, the potential for magnetic tape recording for telephone answering machines was not fully explored until later years - and didn't truly hit home with the public until after World War II.The reaction that came those many years ago from AT&T was not the first time that a company bucked at the idea of revolutionary technology - and it likely won't be the last. This is however one of those situations where - despite the best efforts of the company to shut the technology down - there was no stopping powerful minds from continuing to find practical uses for magnetic tape technology with continued advancement into the digital answering machines we use today.